The gift that keeps on giving

For my sixteenth birthday, my father, who was not a great reader — he had dyslexia, back before its name was known; the only things the nuns knew was that the boy couldn’t read, though he was pretty quick with numbers, so they sent him to vocational school, where he learned to be a carpenter before he was drafted, came back home, married, realized that a ‘prentice carpenter wasn’t going to make enough to support his small family of three, and sold himself to General Motors’ beautiful daughter, Fisher Body — all of which is another story.

But! For my sixteenth birthday, though he had extreme reservations about this whole writing thing that I seemed to be set on — my father gave me The Random House Dictionary of the English Language: The Unabridged Edition. When I unwrapped it, he said proudly, “There! That’s the only dictionary you’ll ever need.”

As it turned out, he was wrong, but for a long time, he was right. The dictionary and I were inseparable. It got a lot of use, so much use that the spine cracked and pages started slipping. I stopped using the dictionary, though it still remained in its place honor on the floor next to my office chair, and Archie the cat repurposed it into a co-pilot’s station.

Sometime after we came to Maine and Archie had crossed The Bridge, Steve bought me Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary as a replacement, but I couldn’t bear to get rid of the Random House. It sat on the bottom shelf a bookcase, camouflaged by legal pads, and file folders.

Until this morning, when I realized that my bad shoulder had been starting to kick up again and I took a good, hard look at my desk and decided that the screen was sitting a little low.

I pulled the old dictionary out from the archeological drift of folders, dusted it off, and put it back to work.

The screen’s at a good height, now. Yeah.

So! This is a long weekend, here in the US, and much of it is going to be dedicated to The Book Currently Known as George. I’ve gone through what I have, marked it up, and noted places where the action needs to be expanded. Putting in those changes and additions should help get me back into the story. It’s possible I’ll even break new ground this weekend.

Wouldn’t that be something?

To the new folks who’ve joined us over the last couple of days — welcome! Help yourself to whatever’s in the fridge, and mind the cats. They’ve got the sleep rays on HIGH today.

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